"Me I like football but there's a lot of things around.when you line them up together the footy wins hands down" this is a grab from the AFL anthem Up there Cazaly. Unfortunately the reality is not the case. I love watching a good game of football. Yet Australia is turning away from it in droves. Sick of paying exorbitant ticket prices. Huge parking fees. Booking fees. Over the odds for food and beverages. Or is it because you can pay a fee to watch every game live against the gate on pay TV? Or is it because the talent pool has been spread to thin by the expansion of the league to 18 teams. Crowds this year are down by about 8% it cannot be attributed to one thing it is probably a combination of a number of issues.
Ticket prices and the booking fees see a family going to the football being turned from a weekly adventure to almost an annual event. I understand the rational why go out sometimes in the middle of the night when I can sit in my lounge room with all the comforts not just for 1 game but every game every weekend? Food &drinks are readily available at home ,no service delays and you don't get stung in the process.
If this isn't enough you have to pay for parking or take your life into your hands on public transport.I remember when football was a peoples game. You could buy a membership for the cost of a pie now. That would get you into all the home games your side played. I rarely missed a game.
Now for the standard of the game. Every weekend during the season there is nine games. When I was growing up there was 6 games! 12 teams has become 18 the pool of talent is not a finite resource. Each team now has 22 players back when there was 20. Apart from a couple of notable exceptions the pool these players are drawn from is the same. The late Jim Stynes would be a grand exception. Is it any wonder that the standard of most games has degenerated. I don't think so. The reality is we cannot produce enough good footballers to feed these teams so the standard drops. Also those good footballers that are not super athletes turn away from the game. Guys like diesel Williams Tony Lockett Gary Ablett Snr Doug Wade would not cop the training of today. What a loss.
We are lucky if there is more than 1 good game on any given weekend and it is little wonder. Our game has been sanitized to the point that it is barely recognisable.
Equalization is a token gesture. The salary cap only seems to reward the mediocrity of players. Take my Club Richmond 35 years of shit & destruction. Yet today our players are payed the same as Hawthorn Sydney and Geelong give or take a few percent. This doesn't work. The Melbourne St Kilda Footscray Richmond experience proves this. If these clubs were allowed to pay there player group on performance they would have plenty of cash in reserve to explore free agents.
I hope footy doesn't get overrun by the world game. If I was 14 and a talented athlete I know which way I would go. Good luck Gillon you've inherited a Mess!